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There are no better books for young vehicle fans, and William Bee’s new big, lively, information-packed book tells them everything they’ll want to know about tractors and the machines that work on our farms. From the smallest tractors – the illustration shows one in an orchard – to the really massive ones, ones that pull, push, lift and scoop, they’re all here illustrated across double pages. The author’s friendly text is full of information about what the different tractors are for, and how important they are in providing our food. There’s even space for a look at the very first tractors, and we meet William’s carthorse, Brian, too. Collect the set with William Bee’s Wonderful Worlds of Trains and Trucks.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award February 2017 Debut of the Month This beautiful book demands and repays careful reading. Grimloch Lane is a quiet place and its residents hurry up and down in silence. At night it is different, magical almost, glowing green in the moonlight. That’s when the Night Gardener does his work, sculpting trees into animals. No longer is Grimloch Lane quiet – neighbours gather to marvel and rejoice in his beautiful, unexpected creations. Young orphan William in particular is entranced and one amazing night is invited to join the mysterious night gardener in his work, transforming the trees of the park into wild creatures. In delicate images and compositions this breathtaking book makes us see the beauty of the world around us, and celebrates the power of art to bring us together and enrich lives. ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Shortlisted for the Children's category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016 Those obstreperous crayons, colourful stars of The Day the Crayons Quit, are back – or at least, they’re trying to get back… Duncan is at home happily colouring, when a strange set of postcards arrive for him. They’re from his crayons, those which have been lost, forgotten, broken or – in the case of Pea Green – run away. Poor Maroon has had a terrible time, lost down the back of the sofa and sat on by Dad! It’s another piece of picture book brilliance, you’ll believe a crayon can talk. The crayons’ personalities burst out and there are some new characters too including Neon Red and Glow in the Dark, who has a special surprise for readers. Unmissable! ~ Andrea Reece
Pirates are always popular subjects for picture books and by ingeniously combining a pirate story with a pair of yucky smelly feet, Mark Chambers and Lucy Rowland have upped the satisfaction levels even higher. Poor Pirate Pete’s feet are so stinky that his crew are finally driven to chuck him overboard (though within swimming distance of a desert island). They happily take him back though when his pongy feet turn out to be an effective shark repellent. The story is told in vigorous rhyme – ‘Standing slightly upwind, the pirates all grinned, “Three cheers for Pete’s foul-smelling feet’ – and the illustrations are full of fun too, look out for the sock hidden on each page. And if all this isn’t enough there’s a free set of scratch and sniff stickers too. Pooh! ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award This book comes with a warning: it will make you ROAR! And it will – with excitement, relief and happiness. Nightime and Richard is scared so, clutching his toy Lionheart, he runs out of his bedroom, through the streets and the fields and into a magical jungle. But the monster is still coming, so he runs again, straight into Lionheart, no longer a toy but a huge, handsome lion. When the monster does catch up, Lionheart shows Richard how to be brave: they ROAR at the monster so that it and Richard’s fears are blown away for ever. Epic in scale and intent, Collingridge repeatedly takes readers from safety into danger before Richard returns at last to his bedroom. The journey seems enormous, settings dwarfing the small boy in his lion suit, and with soaring viewpoints and sudden close ups, the illustrations have the glorious technicolour feel of film. Breathtaking! ~ Andrea Reece
Michael Foreman was inspired to create his new picture book on a visit to the Dubai Book Fair, and Jamal the little camel’s journey ends in the shining towers and bright colourful market places of the city. But it begins in the desert as Jamal walks, walks, walks behind his mother and father and their Bedouin owners across the golden sand. There’s drama when a sandstorm blows up and he’s separated from the party, only to be found and saved by the falcon we spotted earlier on the traveller’s fist. This is a book rich in the sights and sensations of a faraway land, beautifully depicted in Michael Foreman’s glorious watercolours. Little Jamal is an irresistible character too, inviting the reader into his world from the first page.
Andy Stanton, that maestro of absurdity, teams up with Neal Layton, an illustrator who also has a direct line to preposterousness, to create a picture book that takes a simple idea and follows it to a superbly irrational logical conclusion. Brother and sister Danny and Frannie are enjoying a day by the sea when, inspired by its sparkly blue vastness, Danny decides he’ll drink it. Challenged by Frannie he does, and then he goes on to swallow more and more things – trees, mountains, the author of the book (you can see him writing away inside Danny’s stomach), America - until there’s no more to see. But then he makes his mistake. If you need a moral, it’s probably never underestimate your siblings, but best enjoy it as a glorious, liberating exploration of the ludicrous! ~ Andrea Reece
The title says it all! Set in a gloriously depicted fairy-tale landscape this clever picture book has lots of fun with a situation that all parents and children will understand. Prince Freddie is enjoying a day off relaxing with a comic and a jug of refreshing lemonade when he gets the call to save the castle from a dragon. He immediately leaps onto his horse, Sir Rushington but – oh dear – maybe drinking all that lemonade wasn’t such a good idea. He desperately needs to go for a pee, but everything conspires against him and he has to keep his legs crossed until they arrive at the castle when … you’ll have to read it yourself! ~ Andrea Reece The Editor at Nosy Crow says: “Every parent has been there . . . You’ve just left the house (usually about to start a long motorway journey) when a small person says, “I need a pee!” It ALWAYS happens. Everyone can identify with Prince Freddie – AND Sir Rushington – in this pant-wettingly funny tale. Just make sure you have a pee before reading the book!”
Written by father and son team Brett and David ‘Elmer’ McKee there’s the feel of a fable to this picturebook. The Nasties are scaring the King and his people with their terrible caterwauling. Brave young Sir Ned volunteers to sort them out and heads into the woods to find them. He’s quickly joined by a troll, a witch and a very suspicious looking wolf – none other than the Nasties themselves in fact. Things aren’t going well for our hero but he saves the day by teaching the trio to sing in tune, turning bad into good. The story is great fun for children and adults alike and David McKee’s characterful and humorous illustrations are just dazzling, the forest drenched with colour, scenes of dancing full of movement and joy. Superb. ~ Andrea Reece
Jane Clarke and Emma Dodd have enormous fun reinventing the story of the old woman who swallowed a flea, transposing the setting to the Amazon jungle and replacing the old woman with an anaconda! The list of creatures swallowed is much more exotic and interesting too: a tick, a skink, a frog, a piranha (its toothy grin did not alarm her!), and finally the narrator. A series of increasingly elaborate flaps and pop ups enable readers to watch the progress of the animals inside the snake until in a final splendid scene the anaconda is sick and they are freed! The text is a joy, the illustrations too, and lift-the-flap doesn’t get any better than this. ~ Andrea Reece The Editor at Nosy Crow says: “Have you ever wondered just how many animals one snake could swallow? This may not be the most scientifically accurate account, but it’s a hilarious imagining of a pretty wild scenario. And as it gets more and more squished inside the anaconda, there’s only one way things are going to end… With loads of icky, boysy humour, you’re sure to go ‘bleugh’. Giggles guaranteed.”
September 2016 Debut of the Month There’s an air of fairy tale in this beautiful and touching picture book, but its foundations are firmly in family relationships. A young boy lives with his grandma, who was an architect. She’s old and getting older, until one day she’s not there anymore. The house she was building is now just a collection of rooms, so the boy gets to work himself, creating a giant model of his grandma. True to fairy tale convention, this comes to life and carries him across the countryside to their half-finished home, which it completes. Ross Montgomery’s text subtly leaves gaps for the readers to fill in, and David Litchfield’s illustrations are full of life, humour and light. ~ Andrea Reece
With clever comic timing this story builds to a surprise ending rather like The Gruffalo. Mortimer is planning a picnic with his best friend Oggy. It’s all ready when a note arrives – poor Oggy has a cold and can’t come after all. Kind-hearted Mortimer decides he’ll look after his friend and take the picnic to him. But a little rabbit hurrying through the woods with a basket of cake and sausages soon attracts the attention of some fierce, hungry creatures and before long Mortimer has a crocodile, a wolf and a troll snapping at his heels, only to be snatched up by something bigger and fiercer still. It’s a funny, very satisfying story with an excellent twist. Nick Ward’s warm, humourous illustrations are full of extra little details that make this even more fun. ~ Andrea Reece
Standing in his pyjamas in the garden in the morning sunshine, Alfie is an unmistakeable little figure. Shirley Hughes has an extraordinary understanding of children, their world and what matters to them and captures it beautifully in the turn of a head or the position of hands or feet. In this new book Alfie is helping his dad with the gardening, planting seeds and waiting – impatiently – for his carrots to grow, though he’s not planning to eat them himself! Parents and children will recognise themselves in Shirley Hughes’s gorgeous, detailed illustrations, which have a unique timeless quality, and this is a book to treasure. ~ Andrea Reece
Terry Perkins is a normal, happy little boy, until he starts to speak, and his words come out upside down. A doctor has the answer – stand Terry on his head. People can understand him now, but it makes Terry a laughing stock at school and the other children are so mean to him he daydreams of living in space, alone. It’s only when he makes a new friend that Terry’s upside down frown is turned into a smile. Any child who’s ever felt left out or excluded will understand this picture book and it will have a special resonance for children who stammer, are learning to speak a new language or struggle with dyslexia. The stylised stick-figure illustrations suit the story perfectly and this funny undeniably quirky book will give readers a different view of the world. ~ Andrea Reece
Rebecca Elliott tells the story of Noah’s Ark with extraordinary economy and charm, capturing all the drama and the joy. On chunky board book pages we see two lovely lions, two magnificent monkeys, two brown bears, two pretty parrots, followed by one noisy Noah (he’s snoring), one daring dove, then the ark, under the rainbow, packed with animals and ‘full of love’. It’s a triumph, the whole momentous story in just 27 words! So much of the impact comes from the illustrations, beautiful mixed-media, minimalist but full of life and emotion – it’s clear from the pictures of the animals that they love one another. Stylish to look at, fun to read, and genuinely moving. ~ Andrea Reece
Perfect for pet-lovers (and especially guinea pig lovers) everywhere, this funny story of finding a home and a person to care for him is told from the guinea pig's humorous perspective. Features Bruno, a wildly inventive boy, and his new pet, Titch, a neurotic, slightly melodramatic guinea pig. Can they get past their differences? Sheena Dempsey offers a contemporary and comical take on new pets and new friends.
May 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning Simon Rickerty illustrates this deliciously dotty story. Four cavemen find a pencil and have absolutely no idea what they should do with it. After some discussion and several false starts, the cavemen come up with a creative solution that involves sausages, a very smiley sabre-toothed tiger and a racing car.
“Bang! Clang! Crack! Thud! Creak!! Wham! ” The noises of the building site provide a background to this vigorous story of destruction. Perfect for all those who love big machines such as tractors, diggers and cranes as the work they do is vividly recorded on the robust board book pages of this story.
March 2014 Debut of the Month A fun-filled new picture book about the power of good with quirky illustrations from award-winning Alex T. Smith. Boys in particular will love the story of Hector, a tiny little boy with a big, brave heart who goes on an adventure to rescue his granny's wand from a big bad knight.
A sophisticated story with an important message lies at the heart of this deliciously entertaining book. The animals on Mr Tanner’s farm are in revolt against their farmer’s disgusting behaviour; he pollutes the water, cuts down the trees, and makes the animals live in a crumbling barn. Luckily, they come up with what seems like a very clever plan…When things go wrong, all looks hopeless until Mr Tanner himself does a very stupid thing. Soon he is up, up and away and the animals can live happily ever after!
An exciting new title in the popular series about Jack, a boy with a gift for repairingbig machines. Jack’s just fixed up a monster truck and his keen to give it a test drive. The drive turns into an action-packed adventure as Jack and his dog Riley find himself surrounded by some very surprising creatures. Luckily, Jack and Riley can help a baby monster and soon everyone is friends. A removable model monster truck will delight all readers.
The combination of dinosaurs and diggers will make this completely irresistible to many young children, but there’s lots for all readers to enjoy. The Dino Diggers have a hard day’s work ahead of them: Mr Ali O’Saurus wants the foundations for his new car factory laid by the end of the day. Disaster strikes when the backhoe accidentally cracks a water main, but by working together the team live up to their motto, ‘Dino Diggers Never Let You Down’ and get the job done. It’s a satisfying story with a proper plot and the dinosaurs are real characters. A press out T Rex and digger is an added bonus and allows children to create their own Dino Digger adventures. ~ Andrea Reece
This is a scrapbook with a difference. Yes, readers are asked to record the usual information about themselves, from their height to what kind of house they live in to their dream holiday, but it also tests how ambidextrous they are, and how embarrassing Mum is. At the same time it’s packed with all sorts of unusual and interesting facts on all sorts of things from swimming pools to board games. It’s great fun and kids are likely to return to this book long after the write-in pages have been completed. ~ Andrea Reece
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2017 Irresistible for anyone mad about trucks! There’s so much to learn about the extraordinary world of trucks and truck-mad William Bee is the man to explain it all. There are steam trucks, amphibious trucks, rescue trucks, snow plough trucks, fire engine trucks and much, much more. Gloriously bold illustrations celebrate the wonders of trucks while the texts adds some useful details. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for March 2017 Jellicle Cats by T.S. Eliot and Arthur Robins William Bee's Wonderful World of Trucks by William Bee The Story of the Dancing Frog by Quentin Blake George's Marvellous Experiments inspired by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley Many Moons by Remi Courgeon Freddie Mole, Lion Tamer by Alexanda McCall Smith Black Cats and Butlers by Janine Beacham Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Challenged to a Giant Rumble but suffering from a shortfall of wrestlers, Jack and his friends set out to find more participants for their great battle. But what starts as a fun-filled road trip in their trusty caravan soon becomes an action-packed adventure filled with dangers including animals and insects of many kinds. This Wrestling Trolls story was created on The Story Adventure, where week by week Jim wrote a new chapter using ideas from school children - characters, locations and plot twists. See if you can spot them!
Dylan and his dinosaur friend fly off on amazing dinosaur discovery missions to the Land of Living Dinosaurs. This time he has to discover what secret weapon a stegosaurus has. Find out what it is and then act out the story with your free pop-up dinosaur!
George Pearce has unusually large ears – in fact they’re massive! It’s not the size of his ears that causes him problems though, but what he uses them for. Because George listens - to everyone - and then tries to tailor his opinions to fit in. As readers will quickly understand, that’s not a good strategy. It’s only when he puts his fingers in his ears that he can hear his own voice, the one that really matters. George is a comical character with his huge ears, rosy cheeks and facial expressions ranging from quizzical to perplexed. The message – ‘only one person can make up my mind, and that’s me’ – is important too, especially in an age of seemingly deafening social media. ~ Andrea Reece
Arthur has a problem with The Truth, though normally they’re good friends. You see Arthur has done something he shouldn’t have, and rather than come clean about it, he tries to bend, to stretch, cover up and finally just ignore the truth. The Truth, as envisaged by David Tazzyman, is a grey splodge that even when being stretched or bent seems imbued with the unmovable, rigid qualities of stone, a representation that feels just right. This clever picture book fable makes clear the appeal and temptations of fibbing, and the relief that comes from telling the truth. A funny and clever picture book with a message that all children will understand. ~ Andrea Reece
Would you rather dine with a dung beetle, drink with a mosquito, have supper with a spider or lunch with a maggot? Pick your answer and learn about bugs but be careful what you choose. You could end up eating a splendid dish of elephant poo or a dinner of rotting flesh... Explore the world of bugs and make your choice. Brilliantly funny illustrations coupled with entertaining text in this picture book makes for hours of entertainment and, with no wrong or right answer, there are endless possibilities for discussion and extra facts and notes at the end of the book encourage the reader to come up with their own questions.
As the title makes clear, this fascinating book illustrates prehistoric creatures at actual size or, where the creature was simply too big to fit on the page, a part of the animal at actual size. On the first spread, the reader comes face to face with a velociraptor, its head spread across the double page, its beady eye drawing the attention. Gatefold pages provide space for an illustration of the bird-like Saltopus in full, and a close up on the huge claw of the fish-eating Baryonyx. One double page provides a dramatic close up on the teeth of the Giganotosaurus. The collage-style illustrations are beautiful in themselves, and this book really has the wow factor. Useful notes at the end contain more information on each of the creatures featured. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | May 2016 Book of the Month Attractive, friendly illustrations and an interactive approach make this a fun introduction to dinosaurs. In the company of a group of ‘dinosaur detectives’ readers can explore the world of dinosaurs and pick up a great deal of information: colourful pages explain how dinosaur fossils are formed, illustrate the different periods, and demonstrated the size of dinosaurs using a sketch of a bus to provide perspective. Even the most dedicated students of palaeontology will discover things they didn’t know while this is accessible and intriguing enough to capture the interest of all readers. In tune with the detective theme it comes with its own magnifying glass too. ~ Andrea Reece
Toby’s little brother Benjamin goes to nursery and loves it. His big sister Clemmie goes to special school, and she loves it too. But Toby is starting at a new school, and he hates it. He hasn’t any friends, doesn’t know his way around and feels like a lonely lost spaceman. Fortunately that feeling doesn’t last long, soon an alien called Jake comes to help, there’s a pirate called Lily in the playground ready to play, and Bernard, a dinosaur expert, to take Toby on a dinosaur hunt. By the time Mum comes to collect him Toby loves his school too! A wonderful book for children nervous about starting a new school. Instead of cloakrooms and playgrounds, Rebecca Elliott illustrates scenes from Toby’s imagination – pirate ships and prehistoric forests – properly catching the joy of school. Delightful. ~ Andrea Reece
There are 60 plus pages of information about different kinds of emergency vehicles in this attractive little book. Fire, police, ambulance and search and rescue vehicles from across the world, including lots in the UK, are included, represented in clear photos and described in easy to read but useful short sentences of text. The spread on airport crash tenders tells readers why they are needed, how they are used and how fast they can go, and also includes extra details such as notes on their all-wheel drive and powerful sprays. With contents page, index and glossary, this is an excellent first reference book, full of interesting, well-presented information. ~ Andrea Reece
Do pirates really like singing rollicking songs, burying their treasure and parrots? Do they really eat Ship’s biscuits with worms and how do they deal with Sea Monsters? From the author of the bestselling How Santa Really Works, Alan Snow, comes this must have book for all pirate enthusiasts. With facts, jokes and wonderful information-filled drawings on every page, this fantastic new title is guaranteed to raise a laugh and keep children entertained for hours. The perfect choice for any pirate in the making!
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A birthday party needs to be got ready in a hurry! Mum has forgotten that it is Grandad’s birthday but luckily Eddie is on hand to help. Eddie loves cooking and he knows exactly what Grandad likes best. Mum has loads of distractions but Eddie makes a special cake while Lily helps – in her own way! Eddie’s pleasure in cooking will inspire young readers and the recipes in the back of the book make it easy for them to get started! Sarah Garland captures the details of family life perfectly.
January 2014 Book of the Month Best-selling Michael Rosen captures the dilemma of any dog choosing a new home – and any home finding a new dog! Terri-Lee goes to the pet shop to choose a dog. But, Crumble isn’t any ordinary dog. It doesn’t take him long to make it clear that it is he has very specific expectations of his new owner. Will Terri-Lee come up to scratch in this funny and also thought proving about dogs and their owners?
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2018 Award-winning Elizabeth Laird’s touching story about Finn, a misfit boy who is bullied at school, finding peace when he suddenly slips into the sea and finds that he can swim with the dolphins brilliantly captures the problem of how an outsider can find a place where they truly belong. But it is also a powerful story about the terrible threat to the sea and all the creatures that live in it from the casual discarding of plastic waste. When Finn realises that his friends are at risk from all the waste he does everything he can to save them. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for March 2018 The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue King Coo by Adam Stower Splish, Splash, Ducky! by Lucy Cousins We Are Not Frogs! (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo The Sorry Tale of Fox and Bear by Margrete Lamond Song of the Dolphin Boy by Elizabeth Laird What Do People Do All Day? (50th anniversary edition) by Richard Scarry Bird House by Libby Walden Bug Hotel by Libby Walden Alone Together by Clayton Junior The Lost Penguin by Claire Freedman
If you’re in the market for T Rex titters, sea monster sillies, or Paleo puns (and why wouldn’t you be?), then this is the book for you! There are hundreds of dinosaur jokes, and it’s definitely a case of the old ones being the best – some of these must date back to the late Cretaceous period at least! Knock, knock jokes, why did the chicken cross the road jokes, and even doctor, doctor jokes… they’re all here and young dino obsessives will particularly enjoy the really specialist ones, e.g. what did the palaeontologist say when she discovered a coprolite? ‘Oh, poo!’ ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: comic triumphs and mishaps of a schoolboy detective Schoolboy super-sleuth Damian Drooth is back with a new case: someone is selling forged tickets outside his local football ground and Damian is determined to track down the culprit. He’s ably assisted by his trainees Winston, Tod and Harry and despite their protestations that they don’t need girls to help, Annabelle Harrington-Smythe plays a part too. After a bit of breaking and entering and accidental arson, all works out successfully for Damian. His narrative is action-packed and wonderfully comic and the stories are great fun for children ready to read on their own. With echoes of Horrid Henry and Just William, and illustrations by Tony Ross, these books will definitely be the number one boy detective series in many homes. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: action-packed, slime-filled fun early reader Set inside the world of a computer game, the Goozillas series offers non-stop action, fun characters, and jokes galore (the more cringe-worthy the better as far as fans are concerned), all of it liberally drenched with goo and snot: irresistible stuff therefore for a large swathe of young readers. Bright, lively, cartoon-style illustrations add to its appeal. The plot pitches Max and his friends the Goozillas against various enemies led by the thoroughly wicked Bubble Kitten of the Sicklies and this episode features a kung-fu fighting hamster to add to the frenetic fun. The chapter titles - Tanks A Lot, Towers of Terror, Angry Blobs – say it all and guarantee an unbeatable reading experience for those who like their books fast, funny, and friendly. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: fart-powered non-stop adventure, part book part comic-strip | Danny Dingle and his best friend Percy Mcduff are just normal boys – if normal boys dream of becoming super inventor spies for a gas-powered hero called Metal Face, and pour their energies into farts research ... When they get the chance to build their own soap box racer and enter a soap box derby, first prize tickets to the Metal Face theme park, the boys rise to the challenge. The action is non-stop while large type and masses of cartoon illustrations make this a speedy read for even the slowest or most reluctant reader. Kids will love it, a does what it says on the tin if the tin is full of baked beans. Children who enjoy Danny’s adventures will also like anti-heroes Norman, of the World of Norm books, and Compton Valance. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Cecilia Bennet at Sweet Cherry Publishing Working in children's publishing as an acquiring editor, I am always looking for something that stands out from the crowd. Danny Dingle does just that with it's all-singing, all-farting, larger-than-life characters and irreverent tone. It is a treat to work on a book that's so genuinely funny and full of personality, which can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The book's universal appeal is something that is mentioned over and over in reviews, and it is one of the reasons it is so brilliant for engaging reluctant readers. Danny's witty, imaginative and relentlessly optimistic personality is infectious: you can't help but love him despite his many flaws.
In a nutshell: thrilling adventure in a magical other world | After his adventures in the thrilling Circus of Marvels, all its young hero Ned wants is a quiet life: no chance of that. The mysterious disappearance of tonnes of gold from a locked vault draw him into an exciting new adventure, and the future of the world is in his hands. Once again much of the adventure takes place in a brilliantly described other world, filled with strange and fascinating creatures and machines. A kind of Harry Potter meets James Bond, this intriguing magical story will appeal to all young readers who dream of a more exciting life in a more exciting world, and Ned is the perfect young hero. Readers who enjoy Ned’s magical adventures will relish Knights of the Borrowed by Dave Rudden and the Darkmouth series by Shane Hegarty. ~ Andrea Reece
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2017 Freddie Mole is just an ordinary boy who never imagines that he will do anything brave. He certainly never dreams that he would be brave enough to become a lion tamer. But then, he didn’t know just what Ripper, Growler, Roarer and Prowler, the four lions in the circus would be like or how many tricks there are in any big-top performance. Freddie’s circus-life journey from floor-sweeping assistant to circus owner through roles as a trapeze artist and lion tamer are all quietly achieved largely by little more than being a thoroughly decent boy. With no magic and not much mystery to propel it, Freddie Mole’s whole-lifetime-adventure is nonetheless a charming and witty story about achieving what you wish for. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for March 2017 Jellicle Cats by T.S. Eliot and Arthur Robins William Bee's Wonderful World of Trucks by William Bee The Story of the Dancing Frog by Quentin Blake George's Marvellous Experiments inspired by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley Many Moons by Remi Courgeon Freddie Mole, Lion Tamer by Alexanda McCall Smith Black Cats and Butlers by Janine Beacham Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
January 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: irresistible adventure story told in words and pictures | Prepare yourselves: children across the country will soon be using a shouted “Aaahh!” as a greeting, followed by hysterical laughter. This is how space boy android Hilo greets his best friend D.J. and the two are quickly set to become the new favourites of children’s fiction. Judd Winick’s fast moving cartoon adventure begins when Hilo falls to earth, dressed only in silver underpants. He’s found by D.J., an ordinary kid in a family of over-achievers, who quickly discovers that there are more creatures coming after Hilo, and they’re not nearly as friendly. D.J.’s old friend Gina, newly returned to their quiet town, joins the gang too and the stage is set for some great battles. While there’s lots of action, there’s also space for humour, friendships and the message that super-heroes take all forms. As Hilo would say, “Outstanding!” For more action-packed, funny space adventures try Steve Cole’s Magic Ink books, and for more brilliant cartoon action in colour there’s Star Cat and Evil Emperor Penguin from the Phoenix Comic Presents series. ~ Andrea Reece
August 2016 Debut of the Month This story of an unusual friendship is exactly the sort of barmy, surreal comedy adventure that reduces young readers to hysterical giggling. Marcus, a worm, strikes up an alliance with Laurence, a nondescript bird, initially to avoid being eaten. He attempts to guide Laurence to Lake Nakuru in Kenya, and while their trip ends in failure, a real friendship is formed along the way. Highlights of their adventure include encounters with a beatbox dancing squirrel, some snooty flamingos, and lots of mashed potato. No matter how silly it gets (very), there’s a logic underneath and real feelings at the heart. Simone Lia’s illustrations feature throughout and add immensely to the fun. This is one to recommend to fans of the Timmy Failure and Barry Loser books. ~ Andrea Reece
Jams Cogan’s life changes when his next door neighbours arrive at his family bungalow – or Castle as his dad, a not-terribly successful children’s author calls it – with a hamster for them to look after. At least, the neighbours say it’s a hamster, it’s clear to Jams and his mum and dad that it’s really a monkey. But by then the neighbours have gone and Thimble is happily settled in dad’s armchair. All sorts of adventures follow. It’s very funny and the text positively bristles with jokes and snappy one-liners, the butt of most of them being Jams’ hapless dad. Nicely divided into satisfying chapters and full of Martin Chatterton’s wonderful bug-eyed illustrations, this is easy and addictive reading. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from editor Janet Thomas Thimble Monkey Superstar captured me immediately because it made me laugh out loud straight away. I love the idea that the neighbours turn up at the door with their monkey and say ‘Would you look after our hamster?’ Jams is a great character, brave and endearing. Thimble at first seems slightly ambivilant because he’s so anarchic - is he trouble or is he a friend? By the end he’s a real Monkey Superstar. Jon’s book is funny, first and foremost, and it’s also packed full of wild adventure and warm, believable family relationships. Jon suggested Martin as the illustrator as they’d worked together before, we were thrilled he agreed, and when we saw the text and pictures together there was a real sense of something very special being created. It’s just a great story: who doesn’t want a monkey for a best friend?
To the canon of disgusting, disreputable villains loved by children – the Twits, Mr Gum, Armitage Shanks – can now be added Spangles McNasty and his sidekick Sausage-face Pete. To give you an idea of how nasty Spangles is, his ideal day would include collecting (ie stealing) something spangly from an old lady in a library, whilst eating cold chips, farting, pulling a face and shouting all at the same time. Spangles plans to steal all the goldfish in the town of Bitterly Bay because he thinks they’re made of real gold, but he’s reckoned without young Freddie Taylor. With its zany plot, an abundance of the fanciful imagery and word play that young readers love, and highly eccentric cast of characters, this is unadulterated fun! Perfect for fans of Mr Gum, readers who enjoy the adventures of Spangles McNasty will also like William Sutcliffe’s Circus of Thieves books. ~ Andrea Reece
If you love fairytales – and who couldn’t? – you’ll love this brand new adventure written by one of our most inventive and entertaining children’s authors. Magnifico Onion might be the seventh son of a seventh son but he’s been spoiled rotten all his life and is no hero, despite what his mum thinks. His little brother Alife however has all the qualities that make the youngest son a fairytale favourite. Together they head off in search of adventure and fortune. To find out which one gets to marry the princess and which one settles down with an ogress, you’ll have to read the book – and a real treat it is. A sparkling story that will leave everyone happy! ~ Andrea Reece Readers who like this will also enjoy Kaye Umansky’s Pongwiffy series.
For absurd, anarchic, keep-them-reading comedy adventures, kids can’t do better than climb into Andy and Terry’s world. If you haven’t discovered this series, it stars Andy and Terry and their amazing custom-built treehouse, any child’s dream (adult-free) adventure-playground. Whatever they fancy, they build so the treehouse includes a watermelon smashing machine, a life size snakes and ladders game with real snakes and real ladders, even a Ninja Snail Training Academy. Andy and Terry are the real Andy and Terry, constantly harassed by their publisher Mr Big Nose to deliver their next book. In this adventure, he’s been kidnapped so the authors set off to rescue him. The story is wonderfully nutty and inventive, Denton’s cartoons adding to the craziness, and hugely entertaining. Adults – there’s a very good hungry caterpillar joke too on page 208. For more irresistible, funny, highly illustrated reads for the under tens, try the Tom Gates series by Liz Pichon; Jim Smith’s Barry Loser books; the Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis; and Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series. ~ Andrea Reece
March 2016 Book of the Month For action-packed stories, combining real-life adventure with a touch of magic, Chris Hoy’s Flying Fergus series is hard to beat. He’s collaborated with accomplished children’s author Joanna Nadin, a writer who knows her way round a young child’s imagination as well as Sir Chris knows his way round a velodrome, and the result is sparky books with lots of appeal. Fergus lives with his mum and grandad and dreams of making the cycling team at his local track. They can’t afford flash kit and Fergus has to compete on his dad’s old bike. It turns out there’s something amazing about it though, and it transports him to a magical world where he learns lots about competition. The story makes clear what’s so great about cycling, is just as good on friendship and family, and there are some very funny moments too. There’s already a second book in the series The Great Cycle Challenge, and readers might also like Frank Lampard’s football-with-magic series Frankie’s Magic Football. ~ Andrea Reece Emma Matthewson, Editor, Hot Key Books, said: “Sir Chris has already provided a lasting legacy of inspiration to young people with his tremendous list of achievements. What drew me to Flyign Fergus was a genuine warmth and heart to the books and Sir Chris’s clear dedication to the next generation. We can’t wait to see young cyclists across the country enjoy reading about their new hero!”
This handsome information/activity book is packed with bug facts, figures and features. There are lots of beautiful close up images of insects, some very familiar - dragonflies and earthworms – others less so – fireflies, the orchid moth. The illustrations are accompanied by useful text boxes full of fascinating information. In addition, there are all sorts of write in activities to test and develop your knowledge, similarly varied and attractively presented. With sheets of full colour stickers too, the book turns into you very own scrapbook, something to return to again and again. Packed with information, the educational and entertainment value are both very high. ~ Andrea Reece
February 2016 Book of the Month The best-selling Wimpy Kid is off on a family holiday. Mum is full of good ideas about the trip. Especially about how it can be a useful time for learning! From the start everything that can possibly go wrong does and, as ever, the Wimpy Kid records it all with his unerringly frank gaze. The result is a hilarious story which will hit a nerve with all families everywhere. And especially with parents who will love the accounts of the disasters that happen to other families! ~ Julia Eccleshare
The ups and downs of would-be comic Louis’s life make for highly amusing reading. Ups include first date with his friend/comedy agent Maddy, and forth-coming appearance on a TV talent show; downs are school, Mr Beach in particular, and Dad, newly redundant and therefore in Mum’s place at home, instituting cleaning rotas with missionary zeal. There is an up to Dad’s new role too: he’ll happily write Louis’s history essays for him, something Mum would never sanction! Pete Johnson is very good on ordinary family relationships, there’s lots that readers will recognise in this entertaining adolescent sit-com and real substance beneath the comedy. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from the Publishers Louis is desperate to become a professional comedian, and at 13 he already has an agent, Maddy - also thirteen. With Maddy's help, Louis wins a spot in the final of the TV talent show Kids With Attitude. Everybody thinks he'll win, but when it comes to the big day, and Louis feels poorly, well - let's just say things don't go so well! But Pete Johnson's story is about much more than just his determination to achieve fame and fortune as a comedian. The backstory is that Louis's family is turned upside down when his dad loses his job and his mum has to get a full time job. Responsible for cleaning, cooking, and all sorts of unfamiliar household tasks, Dad finds this really tough. So does Louis, when his dad decides that since he's now at home more, the two of them can 'hang out' and be best friends! This is a hilarious story, that the "Wimpy Kid" generation will love, but parents too will warm to a touching tale of a family thrown into chaos, and of how they eventually find a way to get back on track. Highly recommended!
Interest Age 7-12 Reading Age 7 Here’s a slice of Roger McGough’s childhood to entertain young readers, stories of some of the antics he got up to with his friend Midge: adventures with a new puppy; fun days at school; days out on Formby beach, rucksacks packed with jam butties, dog biscuits and pop. McGough’s writing is very direct, perfect for Barrington Stoke who specialise in making books that are accessible to all readers, but he slips in lovely ideas and images too, so October is a bully wearing a grey frown and kicking the leaves around and the sea, the old sneak thief, steals footprints left in the sand and does who knows what with them. Like the treasure that the boys find (and lose), this is full of secrets, waiting to be opened. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling and reluctant readers aged 7+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Good dog stories are irresistible and this one has everything that young readers want. Josh is living on a Scottish island with his crofter uncle following the death of his mother. He loves the island and its wildlife, often nursing sick creatures back to health. When he finds an abandoned puppy he takes it home, despite his uncle’s strict ‘no pets’ policy. Josh decides he’ll train the puppy to be a working dog and names her Reggae, after his mum’s favourite music. Bringing up Reggae stirs memories of his mum, and boy and dog develop a special bond. It also forces Josh to make new friends, something he’s never been good at. A genuinely heart-warming read and a very satisfying story, especially for readers who dream of living in the country. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Andrew Simmons, Editorial Manager, Birlinn The Secret Dog is a fantastic book for young readers which works on a number of levels, and this is something that makes reading it such a rewarding experience. Firstly, it deals with some serious themes – bereavement, coming to terms with moving to a completely new environment, falling behind at school, and bullying. At the same time it’s also an incredibly heart-warming story about a young boy growing in confidence and maturity and discovering the path he wants to follow in life. And finally, it’s an exciting story. Joe Friedman is an extraordinarily accomplished writer who can really hold your interest, create tension and maintain momentum. As the story unfolds you won’t be able to stop reading until the two burning questions – will Josh and Reggae bring off their audacious gamble, and will the villain be uncovered and get his comeuppance? – have been answered.
In a nutshell: absurd comedy genius | Timmy Failure is the best worst detective in children’s fiction, and a wonderful comic creation. In this adventure he’s having to ply his trade very surreptitiously indeed – Mum has banned all detective work until the school holidays. To make things worse, forced to share his room with his cousins, he must set up his office in a garden shed at the local hardware superstore, a place referred to always as Home Despot. Additional trials in Timmy’s life include piano lessons, and trips to orthodontist Mr A Goni. The plot brings even the most surreal strands together and it’s very satisfying. Timmy narrates with the exasperated air of the misunderstood genius and his version of events is just one of the things that makes these books so enjoyable. ~ Andrea Reece Timmy Failure will appeal to fans of those other thwarted heroes Tom Gates, Barry Loser and Greg Heffley.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Interest Age 7-10 Brian Patten tells the story of the hero Beowulf in vivid, accessible prose; in Barrington Stoke’s Little Gems series, aimed at readers of 6 – 8, he chooses not to skip any of the gore of Beowulf’s fights with the monster Grendel and his even more terrifying mother, but it’s lightened with touches of humour and poignancy. Illustrations are by Chris Riddell and full of atmosphere and drama: Grendel’s mother crouched in her bed of bones is a masterpiece of revulsion and pity. Storytelling of this quality is rare, and while the book is ostensibly for younger readers, this is a wonderful introduction to Beowulf for anyone, whatever their age. ~ Andrea Reece About the Little Gems series: Little Gems are in a gorgeous new chunky format, with high-spec production including coloured endpapers and jacketed flaps with activities. Additional features include high quality cream paper, Barrington Stoke font and illustrations on every page. They are perfect for 5-8's. These quality stories promote good reading practice for all newly independent readers.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Julia Eccleshare's Debut of the Month, February 2016 When Vince turns eight years old he discovers he has the most amazing secret. Although he has always hated animals, which is embarrassing because his father is a zoo keeper, Vince suddenly discovers that he can talk to them. And hear what they say back! After getting some fish fingers for a penguin, Vince finds himself with a long list of food requests from all the other animals. And he is enjoying the best birthday of his whole life! ~ Julia Eccleshare
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | February 2016 Book of the Month Hamish and the Worldstoppers was one of my favourite kids’ books of 2015, and the follow up is even better. The world is in danger again, or should that be still, and the monsters Hamish and his friends defeated in his first outing are small-town stuff compared to the Neverpeople threat he faces. The mayhem starts in 10 Downing Street, in some very funny scenes, and takes Hamish into an alternative world where everything, from the Statue of Libert-he to the Her-malayan mountains, is reversed. Quirky, original, clever, fast-paced and very funny indeed, this book will be another huge hit with young readers while Wallace’s narrative voice – both teasing and worldly-wise – makes it great for reading aloud. ~ Andrea Reece Readers who enjoy this should also like Frank Cottrell Boyce’s The Astounding Broccoli Boy, another tale of children caught up in a bizarre and very funny adventure.
Compton Valance and his best friend Bryan Nylon are unlikely heroes, but they managed to create a time machine out of a mouldy cheese sandwich and save the universe from certain destruction. Now the sandwich is safely in a museum, and life is back to boring normal. But then the two are recruited into the Future Agent Research and Training Academy, aka F.A.R.T. and time-travelling again! The crazy plotline, eccentric characters and witty footnotes and author comments had me laughing out loud, heaven knows the effect they’ll have on the target reader, who’ll also fully appreciate the snot jokes! Cool illustrations and design make these ideal for reluctant readers but honestly everyone will enjoy this excellent series. ~ Andrea Reece Stop press... Matt will be appearing at the Cheltenham Festival on Saturday 3rd October. Click here to find out more. Further information from the Cheltenham Festival.
Hilarious new adventures for Borgon the young barbarian who is determined to make his mark on the world. Borgon is off to watch the Shadow Trials which are widely known to be the most fiercesome challenge in the desert. But, when Borgon is challenged by one of the contestants, he suddenly finds himself a lot more involved than he had bargained for! Borgon looks as if he hasn’t got a chance. But Borgon’s barbarian skills are not to be underestimated! Philip Reeve’s illustrate Borgon’s madcap adventures perfectly. Borgon the Axeboy and the Dangerous Breakfast Borgon the Axeboy and the Prince's Shadow Borgon the Axeboy and the Whispering Temple
In Beat the Game readers find themselves trapped inside a computer game. They must apply their knowledge of programming and algorithms to make their way safely through. The reader is responsible for how the plot unfolds and if you successfully complete the mission you can definitely call yourself a computer whizz. The Rubik's Quest title Beat the Game is part of a larger series of four exciting books. It takes readers on an engaging adventure into the science and maths behind the Rubik's Cube which in 2014 celebrates its 40th birthday.The series allows children to achieve a sense of 'creating your own adventure story' by using their problem-solving skills in a twisting-turning world of toys and puzzles.
A funny, wise-cracking spy story with World Cup memorabilia at its centre - James Bond never had to dress up as a girl!! - packed full of gadgets and super sleuthing and a boy who must dress in a tutu in order to hide his identity. The third in the series, Boy in Heels, will be coming in 2015.
June 2014 Debut of the Month Harry's an optimistic kid who never gives in but when Harry's dad loses his job he fears his mega-amazing film idea, without any money isn't going to happen. But Harry is resilient and is not one to give up, so join him on his hilarious ups and downs told through laugh-out-loud letters, emails, texts and more to his cousin Charley and to lots of famous people - the Queen, the Prime Minister and Harry Styles to name but three. Anyone, who likes their books to be laugh-out-loud funny will love Harry Riddles as will fans of Wimpy Kid, Barry Loser and Tom Gates. Harriet Wilson, from publisher HarperCollins said “We snapped up Shoutykid because the hilarious voice of Harry Riddles shouted loud and clear that he was the funniest kid in fiction. You can’t help but fall for Harry – as his life unravels he remains relentlessly optimistic and his genuine belief that the world’s luminaries might lend him a hand (or a tenner) is both moving and side-splittingly funny. Now that Harry has found his voice, you’re sure to be hearing a lot more from him.”
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - June 2014 Debut of the Month Told at a speed to match the time-travel theme of the story, this is a highly entertaining and wittily illustrated adventure which pays a lot of attention to food! Dreamy Compton Valance’s world is turned upside down when he comes across a very old sandwich which has some very unusual powers. Soon Compton Valance and his best-friend Bryan Nylon find they have the amazing power to travel through time. It’s a fun and frightening experience and the two boys have a lot of laughs on their unusual travels.
Packed with comical characters, battles, puns and poo, this hilarious new series from Peter Bently, a Roald Dahl Funny Prize winner, will be irresistible to boys and girls aged six to eight years. Knightmare, follows the misadventures of a trainee knight, Cedric Thatchbottom, who serves Sir Percy the Proud – a knight famed throughout the land for his glorious deeds. But life at Castle Bombast isn’t quite what Cedric was expecting – in fact, it’s a total Knightmare! In the first book in the Knightmare series, Life Stinks, Roland the Rotten has challenged Percy the Proud to a duel. But the famous knight refuses to take part because he's lost his lucky underpants. It turns out that Percy is lying to avoid the fight. With his new master's reputation at stake, Cedric finds himself stepping up to the challenge...
In a nutshell: comic capers deliver sensitive story of grief and recovery Arnold is unlike anyone Leon has ever met before. He’s honest to the point of rudeness, takes everything said completely literally, yet still has a way of identifying what’s really important to people. The two become friends and – unknown to his family – Leon moves Arnold in while his foster parents are away. It doesn’t take long for Arnold to realise that the family, grieving the death of Leon’s twin Lenny, desperately need to start talking again. Amongst madcap adventures, including an inadvertent robbery attempt on a bank, comes real understanding and a sense of healing. Rob Stevens manages to tell a story of heartbreak with humour and sensitivity and readers will be left feeling genuinely uplifted for knowing Leon and Arnold. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: enthralling new mysteries for a young Holmes Artie Doyle can’t resist the temptation offered by a mysterious invitation to an evening of magic, and, fresh from their adventures solving crimes committed by the creepy Gravediggers Club, he and his best friend Ham are soon caught up in more intrigue and adventure. Young Artie is based on the young Arthur Conan Doyle of course, and the stories are a clever mix of puzzle, conspiracy and history – late Victorian Edinburgh is brought to vivid life. Satisfying adventure stories in their own right, with a good helping of humour to ease and then emphasise the tension, these are also excellent introductions to the works of the great man himself. Readers fascinated by Holmes will also enjoy Elizabeth Eulberg’s The Great Shelby Holmes series, which is another clever and engaging tribute to the great detective. ~ Andrea Reece **How much do you know about Arthur Conan Doyle? Put your detective skills to the test with this fun quiz! And you can find an interactive Google map showing all the sites of events in the book and in Arthur Conan Doyle's life here https://ow.ly/3pNz308SrJg
April 2018 Debut of the Month | In a nutshell: in his own words, quirky, super-readable saga of a ten-year-old ‘detective’ Ten-year-old Rory is pretty satisfied with his life. He lives happily with his mum and brother, and has friends, best being Wilkins Welkin, his next-door neighbour’s sausage dog. But there are two big problems in his life: no-one ever tells him anything, and his dad disappeared when Rory was three. To find out why, he decides to become a detective – despite the derision of his big brother. In a timely bit of luck, new neighbour Cassidy Callaghan – aka ‘The Cat’ – offers to help. The two, of course, get into all sorts of trouble, and to the surprise of everyone, unearth some real villains in the process. Words and illustrations are both very funny and surprisingly touching. This will sit happily next to the Wimpy Kids, Dork Diaries and Barry Losers, but for its idiosyncratic and convincing voice and real sense of family dynamics, is probably closest to Lauren Child’s Clarice Bean books. A great new series for young readers. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: tune in for more hilarious radio-show action Christian O’Connell follows up his debut with another laugh-out-loud story starring junior radio DJ Spike. Spike, sidekick Artie and producer Holly are happily broadcasting from Spike’s garden shed and have a loyal audience, but will their show’s highlights - the highly illegal cat hunt, that time they caused a Christmas-present explosion and the embarrassing parent phone-in – be good enough to win Spike the chance to star on a real radio show? As usual, life at home complicates things: his grandad is determined to enter the same competition, while Dad’s band has been chosen to appear on a TV talent show. The plot is packed with funny scenes, and O’Connell - apparently effortlessly - makes the book as friendly and direct as his radio show. He’s certainly on the same wavelength as the book’s intended audience and with its brilliant illustrations by Rob Biddulph this will be another hit. Readers will also enjoy Harry Hill’s real-life show-biz inspired comedy Matt Millz. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: jungle survival in the footsteps of Mowgli | More than 120 years after publication of The Jungle Book, and following the new live action film version, Bear Gryll’s adventure story sends a modern boy alone into the Indian jungle. Mak seems an unlikely survival hero: we know he’s not the jungle type and is bullied at school. But he’s adopted by a female wolf and quickly learns to accept the jungle, not fight it. Like Mowgli, he forms friendships with a bear and panther, and is attacked by a pack of vicious monkeys but comes up against poachers too. It’s thrilling stuff, and extra details only Grylls can provide, e.g. that termites have a citrus tang when you crunch them (it’s the formic acid) give it a very authentic feel. There are more adventures for Mak promised, good news for readers. Josh Lacey writes excellent page-turning boys’ own adventures and Steve Backshall’s books are also full of excitement. ~ Andrea Reece
March 2017 Book of the Month A touching and amusing story about belonging and the search for an heroic identity. Adam has always known that he was adopted and it never seemed to matter. After all, he loves his mum and dad and even his sisters Minnie and Velvet. But when he overhears his mum talking about a secret he jumps to the wrong conclusion and begins to feel left out. Determined to take matters into his own hands Adam dreams of finding his real mother and of making himself more special by becoming a superhero. Adam’s explorations of himself will touch all those who are exploring their own sense of themselves. ~ Julia Eccleshare Just Call Me Spaghetti-Hoop Boy takes a poignant look at family and friendship. Full of hope, heartbreak and humour – in Lara’s words “it’s about realising that being who you are is quite enough. And it is.”
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Arthur is understandably surprised when Mr P turns up at his door expecting to stay: Mr P is a huge polar bear with small black eyes, and long sharp teeth. Fortunately for Arthur and his family Mr P is polite and friendly and his stay as a guest brings about all sorts of changes for the better. Having to look after him makes Arthur see things differently while Mr P’s uncritical, tolerant presence is a calming influence on Arthur’s brother Liam, who finds it difficult to act the way others do. This is all mixed up in a funny, often surreal story about the challenges of managing a polar bear at school, and with a sub-plot concerning a tense football match. Readers will be entertained as well as moved, and there’s depth beneath the humour. Readers who enjoy this story would like Lob by Linda Newbery, or The Last Polar Bears by Harry Horse.
Described as Metamorphosis for young readers, this story by Ted Hughes is indeed filled with a sense of transformation, visceral and almost terrifying in its vitality. There's nothing out of the ordinary about Fred, except that he seems to have a particularly acute relationship with the universe, super-aware of himself as a living being. While his ability to think himself into other heads helps at school, a tiger prowls through his dreams which become ever more real and frightening. Inventive, spare, tough and beautifully told, this demands to be read aloud. Striking illustrations by Joe McLaren add to its special appeal. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: monster monster-hunting fun Book three in Shane Hegarty’s Darkmouth series serves up another helping of monster battles, with the skilful mix of humour and horror we’ve come to expect. Finn’s 13th birthday is approaching and it looks like he might have cleared Darkmouth of Legends, the hordes of creatures that have been terrifying the town for centuries. But he doesn’t feel like celebrating. His best friend Emmie has moved away, his dad is making him work harder at battle training than ever, plus he’s developed a new power that means even a sneeze can unleash a massive wave of energy and resulting chaos. And he doesn’t even know there’s a Legend out there and after revenge. The juxtaposition of monsters and the mundane is very funny, and the action scenes everything they should be – monstrous fun! Fans of Artemis Fowl will enjoy visiting Darkmouth. For more monster fighting fun see the recently published Knights of the Borrowed Dark, or Jonathan Stroud’s brilliant Lockwood and Co. series. ~ Andrea Reece
‘To the best of my knowledge’, announces Timmy Failure at the start of this book, in a chapter called Let’s Do the Timmy Warp Again, ‘everyone on earth has now read the prior three volumes about my life.’ That’s one of the things about Timmy: he’s very confident. He certainly believes he’s a clever detective and, with his associate Total the polar bear, sets out to solve a case of missing money in this new adventure. Timmy’s sleuthing, and views on the world around him, are as funny as ever. Stephan Pastis’s stories are full of quirky humour and Timmy is an irresistible central character. There’s stuff going on with his long-suffering mum in this story too, and their relationship is another one of the pleasures of the books. ~ Andrea Reece One of our Books of the Year 2015
In a nutshell: the agony and the ecstasy of the pre-teen The return of Arthur Bean, self-proclaimed creative genius and star of one already highly successful diary-based narrative is to be welcomed. Arthur is a rather special voice in fiction for young people: he’s smart, perceptive (except when it comes to his relationships with girls), frequently cynical and often very funny. His adventures – mostly concerning girls and the accidental loan/theft of a video camera, something that weighs heavily on him - are recounted in a variety of forms, from diary entries, texts and emails to homework assignments, even the script of a zombie movie he’s writing. It makes for varied, refreshing reading and feels both real and true. As well as the usual issues of friendships and first romances, Arthur is also mourning the loss of his mother, and this too is sensitively handled. ~ Andrea Reece
Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month, June 2016 Debut author Francesca Armour-Chelu has created a desperate flooded dystopian world in this fast-paced story of one boy's survival. When Fenn's parents are killed by the vicious Terra Ferma who are determined to wipe out all Seaborns, Fenn survives thanks to Halflin who does everything he can to keep Fenn safe. But Fenn is a child with a special destiny and Chilstone, the heartless leader of Terra Firma, is determined to get him. Can Fenn stay one step ahead of his pursuers? ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for June 2016 The World's Worst Children by David Walliams Seacrow Island by Astrid Lindgren The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively Street Child by Berlie Doherty Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero by Francesca Armour-Chelu The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster
James Patterson continues to do sterling work turning reluctant readers onto books, and this latest instalment in the ongoing trials of Rafe Khatchadorian will more than satisfy his young fans. Things couldn’t look worse for Rafe, he’s back at Hills Village Middle School, but enrolled in a special needs class. The only person showing any enthusiasm for his return is his least favourite person in the world, Miller, aka the Killer. But as readers know, Raffe is nothing less than resilient, and things might not turn out as badly as he expects. Short action-packed chapters, snappy dialogue, lots of humour, cartoons and extra graphics, they all contribute to make these some of the most accessible page-turners around. ~ Andrea Reece
Brilliantly visualised, these graphic novel versions of the best-selling stories of boy spy Alex Rider add a fantastic new dimension to the original and terrific for getting even the most reluctant of readers to enjoy the experience of reading. Following the death of his guardian, Alex is forcibly recruited into MI6 and so finds himself off on some seriously hair raising missions in which he faces terrible danger and the real risk of death. In Stormbreaker, the first in the series, he pits his wits against a sinister organisation run by arch crook Darrius Sayle. Alex Rider is a perfect hero. To view other graphic novels click here.
A bold and stylish reissue of the groundbreaking and hugely popular graphic adaptation of Alex Rider's very first mission. Brilliantly visualised, these graphic novel versions of the best-selling stories of boy spy Alex Rider add a fantastic new dimension to the original and terrific for getting even the most reluctant of readers to enjoy the experience of reading. Following the death of his guardian, Alex is forcibly recruited into MI6 and so finds himself off on some seriously hair raising missions in which he faces terrible danger and the real risk of death. In Stormbreaker, the first in the series, he pits his wits against a sinister organisation run by arch crook Darrius Sayle. Alex Rider is a perfect hero. ~ Julia Eccleshare
February 2016 Debut of the Month Like Harry Potter, Aimée Carter’s twisty, original thriller stars a gang of kids with special abilities up against a cast of powerful adults, some of whom are decidedly untrustworthy. Instead of being trainee wizards however, these young people are at shapeshifter school learning to turn themselves into animals. Simon can talk to animals, but had no idea he could be the heir to a shapeshifting dynasty until suddenly he’s at the centre of a decades-old intrigue, with a new set of friends, and even a brother he never knew he had. As strife between the shapeshifters and the different factions of the animal kingdom grows, this is a great opener to a new series that will satisfy readers who like their adventures action- and animal-packed. ~ Andrea Reece Imaginative and vivid with themes of bravery, loyalty, and finding one's true self, this exciting, five-book adventure series is perfect for fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and Beast Quest.
Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month, November 2015 Children’s Laureate of Ireland Eoin Colfer tells a touching story of a young boy trying to live up to his father which means doing something that goes against his nature. Bobby’s father is the bravest and best fisherman in the area and, now school is finished, Bobby has joined him on the boat. But times are hard. The fish are all being eaten by seals. Bobby’s dad puts a bounty price on the head of seals; every person who brings in a seal fin will get £1. But can Bobby kill a seal? Especially, can he kill his pet seal? Bobby’s dilemma is delicately explored in Eoin Colfer’s words and Victor Ambrus’s illustrations. ~ Julia Eccleshare Barrington Stoke constantly prove that dramatic, thought-provoking stories can be told in less than 100 pages. Eoin Colfer’s short often very funny novel concerns a boy facing a difficult decision: should he follow his father’s instructions and club a seal to protect his family’s livelihood, or should he ignore his responsibility and let the animal live? The choice he makes will mark him adult or child. In fact, by a twist of fate happy for boy and seal, he doesn’t have to make the decision, but just considering it defines him still. In this snapshot of one crucial episode in Bobby’s life, Colfer gives us details that bring the boy, his friends and town completely to life. Victor Ambrus’s illustrations are equally vivid and dynamic, showing us exactly what the characters are thinking and feeling. ~ Andrea Reece The Conkers imprint has quickly and successfully established itself: offering the very best authors and illustrators, all heavily illustrated throughout, in a range of gorgeous formats.
Another dose of terrific escapist fiction from an author who excels at this kind of gadget-packed high action drama. Jack, Charlie, Obi, Wren and Slink, aka the Urban Outlaws, are still on the trail of Hector, even though that means a trip to the States. The stakes have never been higher and as The Shepherd, their shadowy fixer makes clear, if they mess up at all, he’ll have them killed. You won’t find cooler central characters, or a tauter, tenser plot. The author manages to keep the Outlaws’ relationships central too, and always convincing, making this much more than straightforward shoot-em-up adventure. If the Cherub fan in your house hasn’t yet discovered this series, they are in for a treat. ~ Andrea Reece
Charlie is the captain of the local youth team, North Star Galaxy. He eats, sleeps, and breathes football. But when Colts steal all of North Star's best players, it's up to Charlie and his friends to save the team... Told in Charlie's own words and doodles - this book will make you laugh, groan, and cheer!
With the World Cup coming up, football stories are even more appealing than usual, and Alan Gibbons knows just how to win and hold young readers’ attention. There are two halves to the story: interspersed with the tale of youth team East End United’s season are chapters with facts and figures on the world’s greatest players. It’s all with one goal in mind: as Cairo, East End’s star player, learns, football is a team game, and the side that plays best is the side that plays as a proper team, everyone working to each other’s strengths. It makes for lively reading – another winner from a writer who always finds the net. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+. Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Spending time with the eponymous Jacky (Ha-Ha because she’s both funny and a stammerer) is always great fun and, as ever, there’s lots to hold the attention and keep the pages turning in this new book. It’s summer 1991 (cue amusing explanations for kids about the way we used to live), and Jacky’s holidays are action-packed. She’s got a summer job at the fair, is appearing as Puck in a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, experiencing her first crush, and trying and failing to match-make for her friends. Even when things veer towards the tragic, you can rely on Jacky to keep readers laughing, and to ensure there’s a happy ending, just like Puck in fact. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize Best Fiction for 5-12's Award 2015 - March 2014 Debut of the Month A Boy Called Hope is a joyous, heart-breaking and life-affirming story of one boy and his messy, muddled and madcap family. Dan Hope may be an ordinary boy, in an ordinary home, in an ordinary town but he has an extraordinary amount of hope in his heart particularly when it comes to his dad who has left the family home. Perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher and Frank Cottrell Boyce. A Piece of Passon from the Publisher: This is a book about a boy, Dan Hope. A story about his dreams and wishes, his fears and worries, and his search for hope. Because in life sometimes things are complicated and messy, not everyone is perfect, things can surprise us, they can make us laugh but they can also make us cry. This is Dan's story, about what makes the world go round, what brings people and families together, and most of all, how hope helps you dream. It's a book that we all loved and we couldn't be more proud to share the wonder that is A Boy called Hope with you.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Julia Eccleshare's Book of the Month September 2016 Philippa Pearce’s classic novel of the 1950s is newly minted for today’s readers while retaining its sense of wonder and its ability to make the unbelievable – including travelling through time - ‘real’. Edith’s graphic novel version captures how Tom moves from frustration and disappointment at being cooped up in a flat with his aunt and uncle to delight when his night time adventures take him into the magical garden that once belonged to the house. Invisible to all but Hatty, a lonely little girl, Tom enjoys the most wonderful adventures with her including skating through the night to Ely. The rich imagination of the original is portrayed in a new and also stimulating way. ~ Julia Eccleshare A message from Liz Cross, Head of Publishing, Oxford Children’s Books, about this unique graphic novel edition: Like so many people working in children’s books, I am passionate about stories. Stories give us so much delight, so many characters to get to know, so many places to explore – and so much sheer entertainment. Really great stories deserve to be shared with as many different people as possible, in many different ways – as we have seen with Harry Potter in film, Matilda in musical form, Tracy Beaker on TV, and so many others. The power of the story shines through in each case, brought to life in different ways by different forms. Tom’s Midnight Garden is one of the greatest children’s stories ever written – and because of this it’s already been shared in film, TV and stage show, and in many languages around the world. So it is incredibly exciting to have a brand new way of sharing this story – in this beautiful graphic novel, adapted and illustrated by French graphic novelist Edith. Whether or not you’ve read the novel already, in this graphic adaptation there is a timeless, powerful story waiting for you. It’s a visual treat and an object of beauty – and most of all, a story you will never forget. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for September 2016 A Poem for Every Night of the Year compliled by Allie Esiri Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes by Julia Donaldson A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston Beck by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff Tom's Midnight Garden Graphic Novel by Philippa Pearce and Edith Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntryre
Here’s a premise and a half: one hundred plus years ago, hubristic scientists decided to bring dinosaurs back from extinction, a la Jurassic Park. No-one expected that the dinosaurs would also bring a disease deadly to mankind. Now what’s left of the human race lives in underground bunkers while giant lizards roam the earth. One of these hiding humans is twelve-year-old Sky. A bit of a rebel, Sky is determined to discover what happened to her scientist father, who’s disappeared. Her search takes her up against not just the man-eating dinosaurs, but devious grown-ups too. Sky is a tough, appealing central character and the thrills come fast and furious. For more high action adventure with an ecological twist try Dan Smith’s Boy X or Urban Outlaws by Peter Jay Black. ~ Andrea Reece
With a great twist to it, this is a witty story of growing up and all the complications and unfairness of family and friends that go with it. Adam Meltzer is on an unusual mission. He wants to find out the mystery of his own death. Although Adam looks just like his old self and still has his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder he is actually – a zombie. Not the typical crazed, flesh-eating kind but the living dead nonetheless. Dead because a bee stung him as he was taking a big swing at a birthday piñata. But Adam isn’t allergic to bees. So, what was going on?
With a great twist to it, this is a witty story of growing up and all the complications and unfairness of family and friends that go with it. Adam Meltzer is on an unusual mission. He wants to find out the mystery of his own death. Although Adam looks just like his old self and still has his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder he is actually – a zombie. Not the typical crazed, flesh-eating kind but the living dead nonetheless. Dead because a bee stung him as he was taking a big swing at a birthday piñata. But Adam isn’t allergic to bees. So, what was going on? ~ Julia Eccleshare
Winner of the Laugh-Out-Loud Book Awards 2016, 9-13 years Category. A brilliantly funny story about a boy who makes a very rash wish! Barry is not the first boy in the world to say “I wish I had better parents” but in his case, the third time he says it, there are some quite startling results. Barry’s list of complaints against his parents is a long one. And it starts with his terrible name. He goes on to blame them for being so boring, being so mean to him about letting him play out and, above all, for never giving him an exciting birthday party! (or even a Lionel Messi duvet cover). But, when the posters on Barry’s walls come alive and his heroes Messi and James Bond give Barry the chance to choose his own parents, just what kind of parents would he choose? Parenting is far harder than Barry had ever imagined! ***There is an excellent teacher's resource pack which accompanies The Parent Agency - click here to download.
Kenny Wright is smart, polite, and really good at chess, none of which does anything to impress the kids at his new Middle School, which is one tough place. But when, he’s forced to teach one of his regular tormentors how to play chess and to their mutual surprise, they both learn some really interesting life lessons. As ever with Patterson, this is sharp and funny, first-rate page-turning fiction. He makes serious points about the importance of ensuring everyone in society gets a proper education, but without it every feeling preachy. Cartoons of Kenny in his would-be superhero guise of Stainlezz Steel add an extra layer to the plot and are great fun too. ~ Andrea Reece
May 2015 MEGA Book of the Month Jake Biggs’s dad works in demolition. All week long he knocks down buildings from the cockpit of his crane, but at weekends he becomes Demolition Man, twenty stone of Man Mountain in a leotard, the best wrestler in town – and Jake couldn’t be prouder! There’s just one thing that upsets him – his dad wants it kept a secret. But when the opportunity arises to enter his dad into an international wrestling competition, Jake can’t resist. While Demolition Dad unashamedly plugs the many delights of wrestling - and could well inspire a whole new army of fans - it is really a book about love, in particular the love between a boy and his dad. A warm, funny and genuinely touching story of family relationships, in a lycra wrapping. ~ Andrea Reece
April 2015 Book of the Month Best-selling Eoin Colfer gives readers a thrilling and action-packed new episode in his series of titles about Chevie Savano, a time travelling FBI agent. Chevie can use her time travel to save the past and change the future. Chevie has been back into the past before. This time she is trying to save the past from an attack with weapons using lethal technology from the future. Can Chevie save the day?
The heroes of Eoin Colfer’s wonderful time-travelling W.A.R.P. series, Victorian orphan Riley and Shawnee FBI juvenile consultant Chevie are back for another adventure, once again coming face to face with the evil – and now apparently immortal - Albert Garrick. This time the wormhole drops all three into 1647, i.e. slap-bang in the middle of the witch-hunting era, which suits Garrick perfectly. Don’t worry about coming to the book new, Colfer fills you in brilliantly on what you need to know, and this is an unmissable series: life-or-death situations; gory action; sharp, funny dialogue; and characters you’ll believe in – Colfer does it all, superbly. ~ Andrea Reece
November 2014 Book of the Month Creatively chilling, this debut novel takes the whimsically charming idea of talking to animals and turns it on its head. Eleven year old Danny, with his new found link to an ancient and dangerous magic is understandably scared and confused, this makes him feel alive and so very real. Danny’s determination to find his missing parents creates a feeling of optimism, which is needed to battle the fear that the sinister and shadowy Sammael creates as he stalks through the pages. This is a book that encourages imaginations to run riot for a while, at times scary and sad it also has an undercurrent of reassurance and strength running throughout. There are questions left unanswered and as this is the first in a trilogy, the door is left wide open for another exciting tale. ~ Liz Robinson
Quirky, original and hugely entertaining, this is a debut novel of fantastical proportions. The first in a secretive series, The Name of this Book is SECRET is accompanied by a website, part of which is in code so important information is only given to the brave (or foolhardy). It provides even more insight into the twisted villains and their lair. But shhh ... maybe I have said too much, tell no-one what I have told you and whatever you do, don’t visit: www.thenameofthisbookissecret.co.uk. The sequel to this novel is also now published. To view it click here. A piece of passion from the Editor:The Name of This Book is Secret is a wildly original romp of an adventure, filled with colourful characters, but it’s Pseudonymous Bosch’s wickedly witty and hugely entertaining narrative voice that really kept me giggling away with every read.
Quirky, original and hugely entertaining, this is a debut novel of fantastical proportions. The first in a secretive series, The Name of this Book is SECRET is accompanied by a website, part of which is in code so important information is only given to the brave (or foolhardy). It provides even more insight into the twisted villains and their lair. But shhh ... maybe I have said too much, tell no-one what I have told you and whatever you do, don’t visit: www.thenameofthisbookissecret.co.uk.
When a bag stuffed full of money falls out of a train and into their camp, Damian and Anthony are suddenly rich. Very, very rich, to be precise. But, there is a problem. They only have a few days in which to spend the money. When the Euro arrives, it’ll be worthless. A thrilling story about the real value of money but Millions is more than an adventure as the boys have recently lost their mother and their search for happiness is tinged with the sadness that, however much money they have, they’ll never be able bring her back. The bestselling novel from Frank Cottrell Boyce - screenwriter and writer of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony - now with a fantastic new cover to celebrate its ten year anniversary.
Saving the rain forest! That’s the vital mission of Saker and his friend Sinter. The precious forest is being cleared by loggers leaving the wild life at risk. The orang-utans will be especially vulnerable if their precious habit is destroyed. Using all their cunning, skill and intimate knowledge of the forest, Saker and Sinter and their friends dare to challenge the loggers despite the enormous dangers they face as they do so. A page turning adventure that will inspire young readers to care about their environment. The Falcon Chronicles Tiger Wars Ghosts of the Forest Wilds of the Wolf
Operation Sting is the first book in an exciting, fast-paced and action-packed new series, SWARM full of spying and military action. Aimed at 9+ this will appeal to both boys and girls who are fans of spy adventures and robot technology and will bridge the gap between Transformers and Alex Rider.
Granny Samurai is back for a second hilarious and thrilling adventure. And she is still not to be messed with! As before, Samuel Johnson tells the story of his unusual next door neighbour who drives a truck and keeps a top secret nano-thruster hidden in her wooden leg. This time Granny Samurai and Samuel go searching for Samuel’s best-friend Philip who is lost in another dimension. Will they be able to bring Philip back safely? It all looks very dangerous!
Longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal Although tinged with sadness, this is a good-hearted and entertaining adventure story with a good message about animal rights. Beanie is being treated for leukaemia but, when he comes across a young chimpanzee in a deserted house, he knows he must do everything he can to keep him safe from those who want to exploit him. Luckily, Beanie is very tenacious – and he has a lot of support from family and friends. Thanks to him, both he and his monkey friend are safe.
Winner of the National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year 2012 Best-selling author David Williams has come up with another cracker of a story in Ratburger. Zoe is a lovely little girl with a terrible life; she is bullied at school and her stepmother treats her like a slave. And that’s not all. Zoe has adopted Armitage, a pet rat. How can she keep Armitage safe when the dastardly Mr Burt, owner of Burt’s Burgers, wants to put him into a rat burger....?
Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2014 - Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 9-11 category This is a fiendishly pacy mystery-adventure story for 9+ readers, set in the seamy, smoggy underworld of Victorian London. Dripping with atmosphere and gothic gore, Wild Boy will appeal to fans of Sherlock Holmes, gothic horror and all things murderous and mysterious. ------------------------------- The winners of the Leeds Book Awards are chosen by you! Read the books, talk about them with your friends & teachers and decide which one is your favourite. You can vote in your local library or at www.leedsbookawards.co.uk. Voting closes on Friday 25th April and the winners will be announced on Tuesday 20th May. See below for the entire shortlist.
In this stylish re-issue, Horowitz's world-renowned teen super-spy Alex Rider's fourth mission is turned into a slick, thrilling, fast-paced and stylish graphic adaptation. It brings to life all the adventure, thrills and spills of this bestselling story. Following the triumphant, international publication of Stormbreaker: The Graphic Novel, the whole graphic novel series has gained wide recognition among reviewers, fans and literacy experts. Recent government initiatives encourage us to examine the reading habits of boys - with literacy levels among children in the UK lower than ever. This is a series of books that may offer an accessible and compelling alternative for otherwise reluctant readers.
A spine-tingling collection of fearful stories, cleverly framed by an equally chilling storytelling device. Twelve story tellers sit around the table leaving one chair empty and one story still to be told. Each lit only by a single candle, one by one the storytellers deliver their sometimes bloodthirsty, sometimes mysterious and always creepy stories. When finished they each blow their candle out. As the room gets darker the atmosphere gets more terrifying. Who will tell the last story? A brilliant collection for those who love shivery stories. ~ Julia Eccleshare A Piece of Passion from Publisher, David Fickling “We timed this book just ahead of Halloween yet, in fact, it has all-year-round appeal for children of nine years and upward. We love the fact that the focus of the book is on story-telling itself - a clever trick that layers on the chilling irony of the plot as it unfolds. Dave Shelton is an extraordinarily versatile and clever author and his second book with DFB is such a tour de force.”
Tense, and creepy, there are real thrills in this absorbing story. Noah has a strange and unsettling talent – gift or curse? – his drawings portray events that have not yet happened, but will. It’s a talent he needs to keep hidden. Moving to a new place to start a new life gives him the chance to reinvent himself, particularly when he makes friends with a girl, Beth, but the past seems to haunt him. Indeed, Noah’s story seems bound up with that of a boy who lived over one hundred and fifty years ago, whose talent for seeing the future had him branded a witch. We want things to work for Noah, but there’s a very real sense that they might not and Rhian Ivory maintains the tension until the very end. ~ Andrea Reece
August 2015 Book of the Month Part superhero story, part Victorian Gothic, Julia Golding’s new story is great fun! It begins in the Arctic when Cabin Boy Mel finds something strange trapped in the ice: it’s Eve Frankenstein no less, daughter of the monster. The unscrupulous crew of the Albatross take the pair of them to London to sell to Queen Victoria, who has developed an obsession with monsters. There’s definitely something fishy going on in Buckingham Palace, and the Queen’s creepy butler has a peculiar influence over his monarch. It’s up to Mel, Evie and an assorted bunch of monsters to save the Empire! Mel and co make a great gang, and their adventures are rip-roaring stuff. ~ Andrea Reece
This exciting new series is based on an original idea from Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson. Our hero is Ben Cameron, sixteen years old. His father has been killed in a climbing accident, and the book opens at the funeral, with an impressive fly-past organised as part of the commemorations. When something goes wrong, two of the pilots are left dangling from their parachutes thousands of feet up and first his mother, and then Ben goes to their rescue. Skip this scene if you suffer from vertigo, but don’t worry, it’s just the first in a series of nail-biting adventures as Ben fights for a place in elite, top-secret rescue organisation, Gemini Force. The technology is up to date, but the ingenuity and action-based plotlines that made Thunderbirds so distinctive is the same. Great fun for fans of Young Bond. ~ Andrea Reece Lovereading4kids comment - Prepare yourself, the action and adventure not only starts immediately, it simply doesn’t stop. 16 year old headstrong Ben has a fabulous role model, his mother is courageous, determined and loyal, she is absolutely someone you would want by your side in an emergency. You can definitely feel the influence of Gerry Anderson as there is a hint of ‘Thunderbirds' in Gemini Force, however this is a refreshingly modern twist on the story of a rescue organisation. You need all of your creative wits about you to imagine the essential and fantastical machinery and transportation at the teams disposal. Ben Carrington, the new kid on the adventure block isn't perfect, he makes mistakes and a few rash decisions along the way but he's immensely likeable and a great addition to the fascinating crew of Gemini Force, this feels like the perfect introduction to an exciting new series. ~ Liz Robinson
April 2015 Debut of the Month Caw is an orphan, or might as well be. His parents threw him out aged five and since then he’s lived with a family of crows in a local park. He’s learnt to understand them, and as the story develops he meets a man who, like him, can talk to and control a certain type of animal. Such people, Ferals, are in danger though, the sinister and terrifying Spinning Man is coming after them. Caw shares characteristics with superheroes and makes an appealing central character for young readers, boys in particular. This high-octane adventures ticks lots of boxes for fans of fantasy action. ~ Andrea Reece
November 2016 Book of the Month In a Nutshell: Exhilaratingly entertaining mythological mayhem | Adventure and all-round awesomeness abound in this second book in the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan, aka The Undisputed Master of Modern Mythological Makeovers! Two months ago, sixteen-year-old Magnus Chase died (that’s right, ACTUALLY died) and made the somewhat alarming discovery that he’s the son of a Norse god. This second giddily rip-roaring read sees Magnus having to embark on a quest to find Thor’s missing hammer. But this isn’t just any old hammer, you know. Without it, the Nine Worlds will be powerless against the onslaught of an army of giants. But – and here’s the thing - the only person who can do a deal to get the hammer back is none other than Loki, the gods’ Number One Enemy… Bursting with epic action and top class dialogue, this series just keeps going from strength to strength. Oh, and if that’s not enough, the humour hits harder than Thor’s hammer itself. The chapter titles alone will have you howling hysterically, with Heimdell Takes a Selfie with Literally Everyone, and It’s Hammer Time! (Someone Had to Say It) being particular personal favourites. Once again, Riordan shows his incredible knack for the kind of storytelling excellence that can hook in even the most steadfast of self-proclaimed “non-readers”. ~ Joanne Owen
Gosh, this is a full on adventurous tale about hope and survival! Then there’s the beautiful friendship between a boy and an otter cub which really gives this story heart and soul. Sam tells his own tale, after the small plane he and his dad were in crashes in an Amazonian jungle river, miles from anywhere. The first sentence seizes your attention, and the book doesn't let it go until the last page. D. J. Brazier has created a jungle that bites, it is scary, and powerful and made me wince and cringe as I read. I felt Sam’s fear and loneliness and admired his grit and determination, I also fell in love with a little otter cub! The story just races along, there are brushes with death, but then there are also moments of quiet, where a beautiful sunrise sears the pages. ‘Alone’ makes you think, makes you feel, and is a thoroughly gripping and enjoyable read. ~ Liz Robinson
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 - June 2014 Book of the Month Best-selling Anthony Horowitz doesn’t miss a beat in this thrilling new adventure that links back to his favourite hero, Alex Rider through the terrifying and gripping story of Yassen Gregorovich. Gregorovich is ruthless and calculating; he is a contract killer who will do the business. But how did he get to be in that position? And what is his link to Alex Rider? In a story of trickery, cruelty, ruthlessness and all out violence, Anthony Horowitz shows how some terrible choices are made. Anthony Horowitz discussed Russian Roulette in a special live event that was streamed into schools on Monday 16th June. For more information go to www.alexrider.com/horowtizlive or watch it on the window below.
Bestselling Anthony Horowitz doesn’t miss a beat in this thrilling new adventure that links back to his favourite hero, Alex Rider through the terrifying and gripping story of Yassen Gregorovich. Gregorovich is ruthless and calculating; he is a contract killer who will do the business. But how did he get to be in that position? And what is his link to Alex Rider? In a story of trickery, cruelty, ruthlessness and all out violence, Anthony Horowitz shows how some terrible choices are made. An absolute must-read after finishing the Alex Rider series rather than before the series. Anthony Horowitz discussed Russian Roulette in a special live event that was streamed into schools. For more information go to www.alexrider.com/horowtizlive or watch it on the window below.
A whopping adventure with some thrilling chases, heart-racing paranormal moments, unexplained criminal activity, a robot with the unlikely name of Gustav Klimt, a secret enterprise called Unicorne and Michael, a great schoolboy hero, at its heart. When Michael saves a husky from jumping off the cliff he unleashes an unstoppable flow of events which looks as if it will help him to find an explanation for his father’s mysterious disappearance. Did his father have special powers? And does he? . and who is the mysterious Klimt? A Piece of Passion for A Dark Inheritance by Barry Cunningham, Publisher, Chicken House We all know there are dark forces. Right. No question – and thank goodness some people have powers that can alter stuff so we can at least get a twist on reality to stay ahead. Right. No question. Chris d’Lacey knows the whole story – he’s just not telling us yet. Get reading. Before it’s too late. You’ll love it.
This is your chance to play a crime solving sleuth alongside one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time, because the clues are there, ready for you to unravel them. Even if you haven't come across Young Sherlock before, this works really well as a standalone novel despite it, technically, being the 7th in the series. Enter Oxford and a fascinating world of body part snatchers, houses that move position overnight and a particularly vicious weapon wielding monkey. If that tickles your taste buds then dive in, once you start reading you won’t want to stop. Sherlock is at his best with an accomplice alongside and Matty is particularly adept at the more crooked side of life. The author allows you to work alongside the Young Sherlock, to observe as he learns his craft, to meet the intriguing people who shape his life. This is a hugely enjoyable cracker of a read. ~ Liz Robinson
Shortlisted for The Bookseller's Book of the Year Minecraft is a BAFTA award winning online gaming sensation with over 41 million registered users. There's nothing that can't be built in Minecraft, but with so many possibilities, where do you start? And how will you ever match the creative style of the experts? This title is packed with tips and step-by-step instructions from master build team FyreUK. A Piece of Passion from Sarah Bates, Publishing Director for licensed character books at Egmont UK “Our Minecraft publishing is all about giving the Minecraft community wholly original content. Our books are unique because they are created in partnership with Mojang and Minecraft superfans. We’re passionate about continuing to bring real innovation to the market – and our 2014 book programme will not disappoint. Fans from the Minecraft community tell us that our books are every bit as awesome as the game itself, and that makes us immensely proud.” If you love playing Minecraft there are other books the series to help you play - all with expert tips! And if you're new to Minecraft check out the Official Beginner's Handbook.
In a nutshell: Wimpy Kid meets The Inbetweeners | This is the fourth and sadly the final book in the Private Blog of Joe Cowley series, and Joe will be much missed. In this episode he’s in London living with his friends Sound Experience band members Harry, Ad and Greeny, independent for the first time ever (except for their chaperone the super-strict Mrs Gleba), he’s got a cool older girlfriend, and is smiling so much he looks like the Joker in a wind tunnel. Joe being Joe of course, things are bound to go awry. Joe’s voice is one of the funniest in teen literature, his comments on life and he and his mates’ way of living it are spot on, and the books’ mix of text and cool illustration really appealing. There aren’t enough funny male central characters for this age group but fans of Joe Cowley would also enjoy Tom Easton’s Boys Don’t Knit or Don Calame’s Swim the Fly. ~ Andrea Reece
In a Nutshell: Classically creepy supernatural struggles Exquisitely chilling and brimming with beasts, this third book in the Spooks’ Starblade Chronicles series is an utterly enthralling, spine-tingling treat. Tom Ward is now a fully-fledged Spook and, as such, his life is dedicated to protecting the County from all manner of terrors, among them beastly boggarts, scuttling skelts and wild witches. He now also has charge of his own apprentice, Jenny, who claims to be the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, as he was the seventh son of a seventh son. With the County-dwellers living under the shadow of a war that threatens to tear humankind apart, the stakes are higher than ever and, alongside the gripping descriptions of battles and beasts, Tom’s alliances and friendships are depicted with tremendous warmth and humanity, further adding to the atmosphere of high-octane urgency. “I only need one ally,” Tom insists. “And that is you, Alice. Together we shall be as gods”. As ever, the writing is as elegantly incisive as it is chilling. In fact, the entire Spooks saga has a real sense of classic timelessness and glorious inter-generational appeal. ~ Joanne Owen
August 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: ways to change the world Joseph is not classic super-hero material: he’s asthmatic and rubbish at sports, bullied regularly and nicknamed Wilco because he always complies when someone demands he does their homework. Imagine his surprise and excitement therefore when he develops special powers including telekinesis. Could this be his chance to get his own back on the bullies, impress the gorgeous Indira and even join super-heroes unlimited the Vigils? Well, yes and no. The story that follows is a sharply-observed comedy of teen life, with a serious undertone. Amongst the comic-book action Burstein shows what heroism - the kind that calls for real courage – really is, and reminds readers that heroes and villains too are often those we least expect them to be. ~ Andrea Reece
This is the second novel from Mal Peet that features Paul Faustino (the first was Keeper) South America’s top sports journalist. It’s a brilliant thriller, beautifully written and the author’s passion for football shines through in the writing. If you’re football mad or want to be a journalist, don’t look further than this book for inspiration. Now available in audio CD. The first in the trilogy is Keeper and the final one is Exposure. Shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007.
This is the second novel from Mal Peet that features Paul Faustino, South America’s top sports journalist. It’s a brilliant thriller, beautifully written and the author’s passion for football shines through in the writing. If you’re football mad or want to be a journalist, don’t look further than this book for inspiration. The first in the trilogy is Keeper and the final one is Exposure. Shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007.
Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Children's Book category, 2016 Charlie’s life should be pretty miserable: he lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who run the black market. A bombing campaign and invasion by their neighbours in the Old Country makes things even worse. Somehow though Charlie remains positive. He makes friends with Pav, a refugee from the Old Country, and together they turn an old shed into a homely refuge until circumstances leave Charlie owing favours to the terrifying Big Man, and facing an awful choice. Decent, determined and brighter than he makes out, Charlie finds a solution. Charlie’s voice and outlook keep the tone light despite the darkness of setting and subject matter. Hugely entertaining and highly original. Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon and Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now are more examples of brilliant, thought-provoking dystopian fiction, while After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross offers similar insight into the refugee experience. ~ Andrea Reece The Costa Judges said “Reflecting the disorder that conflict brings, Bombs shines a light in the darkest corners, finding humour in the most extraordinary circumstances.”
October 2014 Book of the Month Steampunk at its best with some fantastical inventions that make the impossible possible. Set in the mid-nineteenth century, war has broken out between France and England as the two mighty powers struggle for global supremacy. It’s a world filled with coal powered robots, giant mechanical birds and floating cities. Britain’s best defenders are the Sky Sisters, a band of brave aviatrixes led by 18 year old Lady Arabella West, who dare all in a deadly sky-fight against France’s secret weapon – a titanic airship which can remain hidden as it is protected by an invisible Aetheric Shield. Lovereading comment Adventurous steampunk at its very best, three cheers for the start to a fabulous new series that will leave you by the end of the book wanting many more. Arabella is feisty, Arabella is courageous, Arabella is one of the members of the Sky Sisters, a part of the British Imperial Secret Service in 1845 trying to resist Napoleon’s attempt to finally eradicate the British resistance. With steam driven automatons, warships and hidden floating cities you are transported into a wonderfully created new world. The beautifully drawn and explained pull out diagrams and plans of the steam entities pull you further into this sensational alternative reality. The adventures undertaken are tense, and the characters need grit and guts galore to try to complete their mission. A fabulous read! ~ Liz Robinson
Gripping, scary and unputdownable from the first page of the first book in this brilliantly plotted series right through to the last word in this the sixth and final heart-stopping instalment in the bestselling GONE series that really put dystopia back on the map in the 21st century. It is an exceptional page-turner. Escapism just doesn't get better than this. At the start of the series it was seen as The Lord of the Flies for the Heroes generation and that very much still holds true now we've come to the end of a series that will in time become a classic. The complete list of books in this epic series is.... 1 Gone 2 Hunger 3 Lies 4 Plague 5 Fear 6 Light A small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review the first in the series - Gone. Here's a taster....'This underrated, terrifyingly good book is a brilliant what-if book. We have discovered a better series than The Hunger Games. Teen reading simply doesn’t get better than this.'.... Click here to read what they thought.
Best-selling Charlie Higson’s sixth title in the ‘The Enemy’ series is as thrilling and chilling as its predecessors. In a world in which everyone over fourteen is struck down by a hideous illness which ravages their bodies and turns them into frenzied, blood craving zombies, a group of children must do everything they can to survive. With the cities in ruins and full of hidden dangers, Ella believes what she is told – that the countryside is safer. But is it? Ed knows that Ella is in the greatest danger. She may not even be alive. Can he gather together a crew willing to set out on a mission to save her? And will they succeed?
September 2014 Book of the Month Warning: if you only like lovely, gentle, sweet books, read this at your peril! This is painful, often uncomfortable, yet utterly fascinating… this is quite simply a novel to bury yourself in. Mara finds herself in a frightening new world, with the Messenger of Fear acting as her mentor she struggles to understand her role and the terrors that surround her. Mara has lessons to learn, memories to grasp and truth to recognise. The writing allows you to start to absorb and possibly begin to comprehend Mara’s story before she herself does, the impact of the ending though will still completely bombard your senses. This is not a story about an answer, this is a story about a totally gripping and compelling journey. ~ Liz Robinson
In this witty sequel to Boys Don’t Knit, knitting champion Ben is invited to the knitting convention in New York City. It should be the dream invitation of a lifetime but things do not all go according to plan and Ben even finds it hard to find the right person to go with. Knitting-boy Ben’s diary entries are as amusing as before as he records his life and the reactions of his friends to it. A Piece of Passion from Emily Thomas, Publisher The master of Mohair is back! Ben Fletcher, the loveable, funny and triumphant hero of Boys Don't Knit is back with more knitting. I consider Ben to be my honorary imaginary nephew, I'm that fond of him. Needless to say T.S Easton has brought him back to me - a little older, not that much wiser, possibly a better knitter - and a jet-setter too, as he flies to the Big Apple to take part in a National Knitting competition. Brooklyn mafia, magic tricks, long-distance romance - Ben takes it all in his stride! We don't really want Ben to grow up...we want him to stay just the way he is. A real boy, with just enough self-esteem but not too much, and lots of wool.
Zom-B Baby is the fifth instalment in Darren Shan’s epic Zom-B series. In his latest book, the ‘Master of Horror’ gives readers relative pause for thought after the break-neck pace of the first four books. How do you know if you're working for a lunatic? Where do you go when you've run out of people to trust? Have you ever heard an undead baby scream? B Smith is out of her comfort zone ...
October 2014 Book of the Month Perceptive, provocative and deeply moving, Benjamin Zephaniah tells a hard hitting story about how dangerous making one simple wrong choice can be. Rico loves computers and he is brilliant at fixing and developing them. And at hacking into sites which are meant to be fully protected. Rico also believes in protest – silent, dignified protest in which you stand up to be counted but never engage in anything violent or illegal. Rico hates trouble and does everything he can to avoid it. But Rico makes one terrible mistake when he is persuaded by a stranger to do an apparently harmless job. How can Rico prove his innocence when everything is twisted against him? Benjamin Zephaniah is wise on how easily the honesty and naivety of the young can be exploited and misused. A Piece of Passion from Emma Matthewson, Editor-at-Large Benjamin Zephaniah's Terror Kid took quite a long time to evolve. Benjamin's original idea was about a teenager taking over the world, but as Benjamin and I discussed the book, it evolved into Terror Kid - the story of a teenage boy who is good at heart, but is also angered by the injustice he sees around him. This anger allows him to be manipulated by an unscrupulous man with a hidden agenda called, ironically Speech.When Benjamin was talking about the idea for Terror Kid, it was the fact that the main character, Rico could so easily be somebody you know that really interested me - although this could be said for all of Benjamin's books! Benjamin writes about the real world, and his characters face such true-to-life yet painful dilemmas - you really identify with the characters, so much so that you have to finish the book to see what will happen to them.I hope that Terror Kid will make everybody who reads it want to revisit their own views on both the nature of crime and the story behind the headlines you see in the papers; and to think about why rather than how crime is committed. As I say, I hope it does. With events that we see happening around us every day it seems to be increasingly important.
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2014 - January 2014 Book of the Month - Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 14-16 age category A menacing chill is never far below the surface in this gripping young adult novel. Amy is dealing with a host of problems when her father suddenly springs a trip of a lifetime on her. Having no choice, she unwillingly agrees to accompany her father and step mother sailing across the world on a luxury yacht. Slowly Amy relaxes into the life at sea. Maybe this will be an experience that will change them all? But then the boat is captured by pirates. Now nothing is certain and all the normal rules are broken. Nick Lake tells Amy’s story brilliantly. He is sympathetic and insightful about a girl trying to find out what really matters to her in a situation that is fraught with very real danger. ****NOTE Suitable for 15+ only as some strong content ------------------------------ The winners of the Leeds Book Awards are chosen by you! Read the books, talk about them with your friends & teachers and decide which one is your favourite. You can vote in your local library or at www.leedsbookawards.co.uk. Voting closes on Friday 25th April and the winners will be announced on Tuesday 20th May. See below for the entire shortlist.
May 2017 Book of the Month | Interest Age 5-8 | In a nutshell: the best laid plans of mice and supermen …| Stanley is as normal a kid as you can meet, but his dad, well, he’s a superhero, Dynamo Dan to his friends. Life as a superhero is pretty full-on so Stanley’s mum insists dad take a day off to spend with his son. Stanley has been looking forward to it for ages, but it seems superheroes can’t ever relax – the emergencies keep coming. Stanley knows his dad needs a break so decides to help out himself. A celebration both of superhero stories and the special relationship between fathers and sons this is great fun from beginning to end. ~ Andrea Reece High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all. About the Little Gems series: Little Gems are in a gorgeous new chunky format, with high-spec production including coloured endpapers and jacketed flaps with activities. Additional features include high quality cream paper, Barrington Stoke font and illustrations on every page. They are perfect for 5-8's. These quality stories promote good reading practice for all newly independent readers.
Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 A touching and beautifully observed story about friendship and overcoming family difficulties. An unlikely friendship between A-grade student and violent bully Dane Washington and Billy D, a new and younger kid on the block who has Down’s syndrome, turns out to be vital for both of them. Dane is able to show the better side of himself through his care of Billy D. and Billy D has a special job – finding his father – that he needs Dane to help him with. The two boys set off on a road trip in search of one father that leads both to a better understanding of both of their relationships with their fathers – and of taking personal responsibility.
LOOK NO FURTHER FOR GUIDANCE ON THE BEST BOOKS FOR BOYS
There's no shortage of research that suggests that boys don't read as much as girls and read in different ways. Add this to our email requests for recommendations from members and browsers for a place to find 'Great for Boys', it is very much needed.
So, right here on Lovereading4kids our aim is to redress that balance.
We’ve created a special category of books, broken down by age range, which our experts think will appeal particularly to boys.
It might be purely because there’s plenty of exciting action and fast-moving plots in the story and that the book will grab the reader’s attention before they’ve even finished the first page...or perhaps the characters in the story are mostly boys.
Some are sporty, with a good selection of stories about rugby and football, some have added facts and many are well illustrated.
Please don’t think however, that we’re excluding girls from having an interest in these books. We know there are plenty of girls who also enjoy books that are more aimed at boys.
Finally, if you as a parent would like more guidance on getting boys to read more then why not take a look at our top tips to get your child reading.